If you want to max out your performance in the gym, on the field or in the pool, one of the easiest ways is to journal your workouts. Recording your performances during practice and competition keeps you focused, allows you to get a clearer overview of your training and helps you set better goals.
Here are 7 reasons why you should embrace the use of a workout log when pursuing your athletic goals, whether it is winning Olympic gold or destroying your Deadlift 1RM.
1. It will keep you consistent
Have you noticed that once you miss one workout, it becomes easier to miss another? And another? And soon enough you’ve missed a full week at the gym, and the last thing on earth you want to do is strap on your gym gear.
Hitting the gym on a regular basis is easier when you’re riding a hot streak of consecutive sessions. The more you make in a row, the harder it becomes to miss a session. Marking down your workouts helps you build momentum for the next session to keep the streak alive. Conversely, noting when you go on a streak of misses can nudge you back on track.
2. You’ll be more focused during your workouts
How often have you gone into the gym to pound out a workout without a plan for your session? Did you find yourself more easily distracted, prone to getting lost in idle chit-chat with friends about the previous weekend instead of dialing in on your workout? Keeping a workout log is more about recording what you do. It provides a plan before you walk into the gym, ensuring that you are focused on banging out your session instead of listening to your friends brag about their night out.
3. It will serve as a blueprint for your goals
Whatever your goals, recording your workouts will help you get there. You will be able to track your progress more accurately, and this will help you plan your long- and short-term goals. Having clear objectives for each session gives you an escalating set of targets to reach so you are continually progressing and getting stronger, faster and better.
4. See the whole picture
Include information on rest, diet, stress levels and mood. As an athlete, you know that what you do the rest of the day influences how you perform on the field or in the gym. There will be days when you have “off” workouts; and by tracking things such as how you ate the previous couple of days and how much rest you had, you can get a comprehensive overview of your workload leading up to the not-so-great workout—which will give you the background you need not only to predict bad workouts, but ideally t0 limit them by making the necessary adjustments in rest and nutrition.
5. Your workout log will keep you honest
How many times have you walked up to the bar and tried to remember how much you lifted previously? And for how many reps? With the countless number of exercises, sets and reps you perform over the course of a week of workouts, it can be easy to lose track. Having the previous week’s results scrawled out in front of you leaves no doubt as to what you did last time, and more important, what you should aim for this time around.
6. You’ll set better goals
Writing out your performance during and after your workouts provides you with objective proof for how quickly (or slowly) you are progressing. Knowing this information allows you to create goals that reflect the speed with which you adjust to increased training. Not understanding your rate of progression leads to unrealistic goals and sets you up to be discouraged when you don’t achieve them.
7. You’ll get fired up looking at how far you have come
Seeing what you have achieved in the previous days, weeks and months of workouts should instill a strong sense of pride. Seeing where you started, how far you have progressed, and all the things in the gym you have accomplished will get you fired up to pursue even greater workout goals.